The Students: The Sewage Sisters: Kara Thurston, Dani Gahl, Tessie Gordon, and Stacie Julian
The Teacher: Clinton A. Kennedy
Awards: 1995 Seiko Youth Challenge West Region Semi-Finalist and Finalist - Advanced Integrated Biocoil Ponding System: An Environmentally Friendly Method for Treating Sewage Effluent
Nestled in a mountain valley lies the dying Cascade Reservoir, plagued by cyanobacteria. This bacteria does to Cascade Reservoir what kryptonite does to Superman, induces a slow and painful death. Cyanobacteria produce toxic algae blooms and in 1993, twenty-two cattle with access to the reservoir died. This forced the EPA to ban human contact with the reservoir. Excess nutrients in the water have been cited as the cause of these blooms, resulting in the Division of Environmental Quality's restriction on phosphate contributions to the reservoir. The largest contributor of nutrients is the McCall Sewage Treatment Facility. McCall must find a way to reduce their phosphate contributions by nine percent.
After reviewing the selected alternatives, our group realized that there had to be an alternative which was cost-effective, environmentally sound, and would satisfy the needs of all involved. An article in the National Geographic proved to be the catalyst in our search. From the article, "Algae, A Glowing Success," we contacted the British based company, Biotechna. After phone calls, faxes, e-mails, and letters, we felt we had sufficient data to share with the DEQ, McCall, the engineering firm of J-U-B, and the public.
While we were in contact with SOA, we learned the advantages of the Advanced Integrated Ponding System. These ponds reduce heavy metals, phosphates, nitrates, and other nutrients in a odor-free and controlled environment. It is environmentally and fiscally responsible. The Biocoil is cutting-edge technology, which on its implementation in McCall, would be the first in the United States. We discovered the advantages of the Biocoil from Biotechna, Ltd. The Biocoil system removes phosphates, nitrates, ammonium, heavy metals, and other nutrients using chlorella algae as a biological removal system. Our group, the Sewage Sisters, proposed implementing both systems as the Advanced Integrated Biocoil Ponding System. We are convinced that this system is the most cost-effective, environmentally sound, and politically correct solution for McCall.
At this point, we found ourselves serving as the "middle-man" between the DEQ, J-U-B, McCall. and Biotechna/SOA, Inc. On one side, we answered questions about the AIBPS and on the other, we answered questions about the area of McCall. We decided that there must be a better way to get each side's questions answered. From that point on, we have worked diligently to set up a meeting between the "experts". We felt that this was the only way to get all of the answers to the questions that were being asked. Also, we felt that this would be a way for McCall to show their seriousness in looking at the AIBPS as a considered alternative.
We soon found out that municipal engineering projects in the real world present more than just scientific problems. The politics and economics of these problems are the most challenging. We had to enlist the help of the our former governor and our present governor to get things moving, and we now are enlisting the help of the public in general to achieve success. We have done newspaper and television interviews in an effort to enlist the support of the public. We have every intention of backing this project to the end for the good of the citizens of Valley County.
If the AIBPS replaces the existing sewage treatment facility, many problems will be solved. Effluent with a high nutrient content will not be discharged into the North Fork of the Payette River and a decrease in the nutrients in Cascade Reservoir would result. McCall will not have to spend an outrageous amount of money on an alternative that may not even work. Communities all over Idaho and the United States could benefit from the model system of AIBPS.
For years, the process of eutrophication has been destroying Cascade Reservoir. Excess nutrients in the water have led to the proliferation of two types of toxic cyanobacteria, anabaena and microcystys, otherwise known as blue-green algae. These cyanobacteria, under certain conditions, produce powerful toxins. In the summer of 1993, twenty-two cattle with access to the reservoir died from these toxins. In addition, the cyanobacteria have made the reservoir unattractive to potential users. Tourists no longer enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing in Cascade Reservoir because of its murky, slimy-green water and putrid stench. Cascade, once a premier trout fishery in Idaho, is now experiencing a rapidly declining trout population. Remaining trout have been relocated because oxygen levels in the reservoir have become so low that trout cannot survive.
A major cause of the nutrient loading that has resulted in cyanobacteria blooms in Cascade Reservoir can be attributed to the nearby sewage plant in McCall, Idaho. The sewage plant was developed as a secondary treatment system which removes solids and small amounts of nutrients through the use of sand filters. This system has proved to be inadequate in reducing phosphates, nitrates, and ammonium. The plant discharges its effluent into the North Fork of the Payette, a river emptying into the reservoir, and contributes eleven percent of the total phosphate entering the reservoir. The sewage treatment facility has been asked to reduce contributions to the reservoir by decreasing its output of phosphates, nitrates, and ammonium. This measure would reduce eutrophication in Cascade Reservoir.
The local Division of Environmental Quality has required that the total phosphate entering the reservoir be reduced by at least thirty percent. By eliminating one-hundred percent of McCall's phosphate contribution, a large part of this requirement would be met. The city of McCall has hired an engineering firm, J-U-B Engineers, Inc., to propose solutions to the problems that its effluent has caused in the reservoir. McCall's favored alternative is a slow-rate land application that would remove all effluent contributions to the reservoir. The Maki, as the plan is called, has several drawbacks that detract considerably from its effectiveness. These drawbacks include conflict with the water rights of downstream users, high costs, availability of land for slow rate land application, and questionable effectiveness. The effluent itself is a large portion of the water in the North Fork of the Payette River, and consequently, the water already has an intended use. By removing the effluent from the river, potential users would be denied their water rights. The cost of the Maki alternative has fluctuated significantly, ranging from $9.5 million to $14.9 million, and extra costs arise continually. The Maki requires several hundred acres of land to be used for discharging and storing the effluent. Seeing the numerous flaws present in the Maki alternative, we came to the conclusion that a cost-effective and environmentally sound alternative to the proposed solution could be found. In our search for a viable alternative, we found that in solving any environmental problem, three important criteria must be met: scientific goals, economic expectations, and political boundaries and obstacles.
Despite our fears that science would be the most difficult aspect of our project, we soon realized that it was the most simple. We ran tests on the reservoir, including oxygen, phosphorus, orthophosphate, total phosphate, carbon dioxide, pH, nitrate, total coliform, fecal coliform, BOD'S, temperature, ammonium, and turbidity. We ran these tests to determine the major causes of the algae blooms and found that the conditions present in our reservoir are ideal for cyanobacteria. The limiting regent in our reservoir happens to be phosphate, due to the fact that phosphate is present in the smallest amount and, of all of the contributors to the cyanobacteria blooms, it is the most easily reduced and controlled. One of the most important tests to run when studying water quality is an oxygen test. The oxygen levels in the reservoir vary significantly from night to day and from season to season. This variation shows the effect that cyanobacteria have on the reservoir. During warm, summer days, ample sunshine is available for utilization by the algae in the reservoir. Through the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is consumed and oxygen is produced by the cyanobacteria. As a result, oxygen levels in the reservoir are high during the day and drop significantly during the night. This variation adds additional stress to oxygen-dependent organisms in the ecosystem, especially to the more environmentally sensitive organisms such as rainbow trout. To support an adequate array of life, lakes and reservoirs should generally contain a minimum of 5 ppm of oxygen. Trout require 8-10 ppm for survival. The oxygen content in Cascade Reservoir dropped below 6 ppm, necessitating the removal of a major portion of the trout population. Other important tests we completed included orthophosphate and total phosphate. Orthophosphate levels are important because cyanobacteria depend on phosphate for growth. Usually, most of the orthophosphates are used up by the large population of photosynthetic organisms present in a body of water. If orthophosphates are measured above the level of 0.015 ppm, it is an indication of excess phosphates, thus indicating that the system is receiving more nutrients than it can handle. The orthophosphate levels recorded in Cascade Reservoir have been mapped at approximately 0.023 ppm. Total phosphate is a measure of all of the phosphates present in a system, including the phosphates that are "locked-up" bio-organic forms, such as algae and in other plants. Under certain conditions, the phosphates that are locked up in biomass can become readily available to the water system, though they are not as easily utilized as the orthophosphates which are available to organisms. A total phosphate reading of over 0.01 ppm indicates that eutrophication is taking place and is a prevalent threat to the water system. Cascade Reservoir's total phosphate has been recorded as 0.11 ppm and above.
We ran a number of other tests that helped us to gain a deeper understanding of the reservoir. We shared general data on a student-based network, SITE, or Students Investigating Today's Environment, organized for the purpose of understanding the problems that plague our environment. We ran tests with a Lamotte water testing kit and several spectrophotometers, such as the Spec 20D, for the purpose of getting more accurate results on all of our tests. In using, the spectrophotometers, we had to design our own serial dilution and Beers Law plot. Some of the high-tech equipment we used range from the Lamotte DC 1600 calorimeter to a Lamotte pH meter. We also ran several fecal coliform and total coliform tests, a highly advanced and sophisticated test that only one other institution in the state of Idaho is properly equipped to run. After completing these tests, we had an idea of how sophisticated a solution would have to be to solve this environmental crisis.
We could see that eliminating the most flagrant contributor of phosphates, the McCall Sewage Treatment Facility, could lessen the problem of the cyanobacteria. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford a bomb that would wipe McCall and its sewage off the face of the earth, so in lieu of the nuclear solution, we opted for eliminating the phosphates, nitrates, and ammonium through a process of altering the existing sewage plant and adding, a phosphate-removal system at the end of the treatment process in a most cost-effective manner.
This proposal would not require major revamping of the existing treatment facility. The Advanced Integrated Pond System, AIPS, was developed by SOA Inc., a consulting engineering firm based in California. AIPS is an integrated, multi-stage biological reactor system. The reactors, which take the form of open surface ponds, are constructed of compacted earth and range in depth from five to ten meters. Introducing the Advanced Integrated Pond System to the McCall treatment facility would require a simple retrofitting of the existing ponds.
The first pond is called a facultative pond, which consists of an open pond containing a "digester pit". Sewage enters near the bottom of the digester pit where sludge is trapped and consumed by fermentation. The top layer is oxygen rich, which helps to oxidize odors rising from the digester pit.
Pond two is referred to as a high-rate pond. Water from the facultative pond is forwarded to the high-rate pond where aerobic bacteria break down the dissolved organic matter. Microalgae in this pond undergo photosynthesis to produce oxygen, which in turn supersaturates the high-rate pond. This supersaturated water is returned to the upper layer of the facultative pond which increases oxygen levels, creating little or no need for mechanical aeration and a reliable method of controlling odors. The alkalinity of the water is raised by the high production of algae, destroying pathogens.
The third pond is referred to as the settling pond. Algae that was not captured or contained in the high-rate pond settles here. After settling, the algae is removed to be used as a supplementary feed for chickens, fish, and swine. It may also be used as a fertilizer on quick-growing crops or for reseeding the ponds if necessary.
Ponds four and five are the maturation ponds, in which water is stored for future use and is allowed to absorb the sun's UV rays. These storage ponds may be used to raise fish and other forms of wildlife. The water in these ponds is sufficiently purified for irrigation purposes since it is low in nitrogen and phosphorus and will not over-fertilize the land. AIPS is a highly reliable system with a service life of thirty or more years. Odors are controlled and sludge production is minimized. Pathogens are destroyed in the digester pit by high pH and long detention times. Excess algae may be sold as a supplementary feed or fertilizer. Most important, nitrogen is emitted into the environment, while phosphorus remains in the deep pits.
The relatively simple renovation of the existing pond system includes increasing the depth of all ponds. The ponds will be slightly rearranged to add volume to pond one and remove volume from pond two. Specifically designed digestion zones will be added to pond one. Additional aeration will be added to suit the cold climate and detention time will be slightly lengthened in pond one.
Effluent completing the AIPS process will travel to a phosphate, nitrate, and ammonium removal system, the Biocoil. The Biocoil Photobioreactor was invented by Lee Robinson, the founder of Biotechna Environmental International Ltd. Biotechna is a biotechnological company based in London, England. Its product, the Biocoil, is a revolutionary photosynthetic bioreactor that provides an environment for biological organisms to grow in a controlled manner. Uncontrolled algae growth can lead to unattractive toxic blooms, yet under simple controlled conditions, may produce beneficial results. In this situation, Chlorella sp. algae growth is used to remove nutrients from secondary effluent in an environmentally and economically sound manner. Construction of the Biocoil is simple and inexpensive, and operating costs are low as a result of its simple design. Phosphate is reduced by ninety-two percent and nitrates by ninety-seven percent. Land requirements are significantly lower than for conventional facilities, and excess Chlorella can be dried for use as animal feed, fertilizer, and fuel. The Biocoil is cutting-edge technology, and upon its installation in McCall, it would be the first operational system in the United States. Implementation of the AIBPS in McCall would focus national attention to this community in a positive way.
The Chlorella culture is maintained in suspension at a high concentration, causing the culture to become nutrient deficient. It is then mixed in a tank called the contact tank. When the nutrient-deprived culture is exposed to the secondary effluent, it absorbs and incorporates nitrates, phosphates, and ammonia in large amounts. The algae broth is passed through coils of tubing to allow complete nutrient absorption. These tubes consist of clear, food-grade PVC and are wound horizontally around a vertical frame. The tubing consists of several sections instead of one main system, preventing an anoxic condition from developing. They are illuminated primarily by sunlight and artificial lighting on cloudy days to provide conditions necessary for photosynthesis. The design of the Biocoil enables maximum photosynthesis to occur. The cultures are able to grow because of high turbulence and efficient light usage. However, unwanted toxic blooms are unable to survive. Within 24 hours a complete nutrient replacement is necessary; however, there is no need for renewal of the biomass.
A peristaltic, centrifugal pump, that produces compressed air is incorporated into every separate section. This air induces circulation, making algae build-up almost impossible. Each section of tube in the Biocoil contains its own cleaning system to remove any algae build-up, which would inhibit the overall productivity of the Biocoil. This cleaning system consists of a scouring pad that is held motionless during operation but travels through the tube, scraping the sides when the flow is reversed. After the scouring pads have completed the cycle, the pump is then turned off and the flow returned to the original direction. The algae then settle out in a settling tank where it concentrates and is easily harvested or recycled. The biomass is removed in a liquid form and dried to be used as animal feed, fertilizer, or fuel. These products can be used to offset the operating costs.
Together, the AIPS system and the Biocoil form a system which has been given the name Advanced Integrated Biocoil Ponding System, AIBPS. This alternative removes excess nutrients and is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. After extensive research, we have determined that this proposal is superior to all others.
The second part of our project involves economics. Soon after we began searching for an alternative to the Maki Plan, we realized that, to satisfy our goals, our plan would have to be very cost-effective, exhibiting a significantly higher appeal to the public than the Maki Plan. After seeing the Biocoil's positive scientific appeal, we decided to look into the cost. After speaking with the inventor's assistant, Stephen Skill, we realized that the Biocoil, along with the AIPS, was the superior alternative--scientifically and economically.
To begin, the Maki plan is flawed. The Maki is estimated to cost $9.9 million in capital costs alone. Current funding for the project amounts only to $2.1 million and will cover only the first phase of the project, basically just the piping and sprinkler. Phase two of the project will cost an additional $7.8 million, which McCall plans to earn from city and sewer-district bonds. (History of the area suggests that the bond would have a slim chance of passing.) The Maki also requires additional space for settling ponds as time goes by, not to mention the fact that the land that has already been designated for the proposal is not ideally suited. In some cases, the landowner's consent has not yet been obtained. After 20 years, an additional 200 acres of land would be required for the plan as well. It will take years to implement both phases of the Maki plan and in the meantime the effluent from McCall will still be discharged into the river, continuing to release excessive nutrients. Even if phase one of the Maki is installed, phase two may never receive the necessary funds to be completed. The reservoir will continue to suffer until the Maki alternative and funds are streamlined. Time is a great factor here; the Maki would take a minimum of 2 years for full implementation. The AIBPS would take under half a year to establish.
The Advanced Integrated Biocoil Ponding System overcomes the economic boundaries that the Maki cannot avoid. Low capital costs, relatively low operating and maintenance costs, reliable odor control, and the reclamation of nutrients are all benefits of the AIBPS. The AIPS uses compacted earth instead of reinforced concrete structures, thereby reducing the construction costs by one hundred times. The AIPS allows sludge to breakdown in the pit, which creates no need for daily disposal of the sludge. Energy formerly devoted to aerating, sludge handling, and digestion is conserved, and parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses are destroyed. AIPS overcomes these obstacles through the use of a series of ponds. Minimal mechanical equipment is a major part of the AIPS design, thus reducing, personnel requirements to maintain and operate equipment. Conventional plants would have two-thirds more personnel, due to the extra machinery. Design and construction time on the AIPS is also very brief, due in part to its simplicity and easily modified design. The land used for ponds has an extremely high salvage value. Chemical disinfectant for the effluent is not needed in this system, increasing reliability and causing a decrease in the cost. Hazards associated with strong chemical solutions that would otherwise be released with the final effluents are also eliminated.
On the same note, the Biocoil, the addition at the end of the Advanced Integrated Pond System, also has many positive aspects. Like AIPS, the Biocoil is cost-effective. For our proposed plan we need to add 25 Biocoils to the treatment facility. From the data received, we estimated that one Biocoil costs approximately $65,000, making the total for all 25 Biocoils nearly $I.6 million. The Biocoil system also has a low maintenance cost and requires only four people to operate and maintain it. Each Biocoil takes up 180 square meters, so little land is needed to facilitate the biological tertiary treatment plant. This makes the Biocoil cost-efficient and land effective.
The AIBPS has proven its worth and desirability. This system will accomplish the tasks that the Maki has set out to solve and at a significantly lower price. The total cost of the Advanced Integrated Biocoil Ponding System comes to roughly $2.8 million, compared to the Maki's $9.9 million. Once the ponds are built, no further land or space is needed, which adds to the attractiveness of this system. In 20 years, according to the Maki alternative, another pond will be needed requiring more land. The maintenance and cost of the Biocoil is relatively low and affordable for a community the size of McCall. This system requires only the care and maintenance of 4 people, and the annual cost to maintain the Biocoil is approximately $465,000, provided that there is no sunlight for that year. Since we live in an area that receives sunlight for more than half the year, the maintenance cost will go down. The sale of the Chlorella algae would also aid in the overall cost of maintenance for the AIBPS.
Cascade's economy centers around two major industries, tourism and timber. Cascade Reservoir, one of Idaho's two major recreational water bodies, creates a great deal of tourism. Cyanobacteria blooms have made tourists wary of visiting Cascade and the reservoir. Continuing to allow the "pollution" of the reservoir could be potentially dangerous, and the survival of Cascade itself may even be threatened. The phosphate, nitrate, and ammonium entering the reservoir must be decreased significantly in order to start the clean-up process. The implementation of the Biocoil/AIPS alternative would eliminate the major contributor of these nutrients.
The third and most difficult aspect of solving the environmental problem we faced was overcoming political boundaries. The hardest part of our project was getting people to listen to us and take the AIBPS proposal seriously. Once we had discovered the Biocoil and AIPS and all of the merits they embodied, we were sure that it would attract the attention of the city of McCall and the engineering firm in charge of the alternatives, J-U-B, Inc. Much to our surprise, almost all of the response we received was resoundingly negative.
The idea of the Biocoil originated, for us, in an issue of National Geographic, which outlined the main concept in three paragraphs, and we were impressed with it. However, we had no idea how much effort it would require to take the name of a company out of a magazine and transfer it into actual contact. Our efforts to find a phone number alone led us to call Great Britain at two-thirty in the morning in hopes of reaching someone at a respectable hour. Luckily, our efforts paid off and we were able to contact Stephen Skill, assistant to Lee Robinson, inventor of the Biocoil. Almost immediately, we received a brief outline of the Biocoil.
We took this information to Dewey Worth at the Division of Environmental Quality to get his opinion on the Biocoil system. He was cautious of the new technology, but we did not let his opinion deter us from our goal. We were discouraged by Mr. Worth's skeptical stance on the Biocoil, and some of his questions were not answered in our current information. To combat this, we furthered our research through phone calls, faxes, and e-mail with Biotechna.
Soon after, the Central District Board of Health had a public hearing to discuss the appropriate measures needed in order to remedy Cascade Reservoir's problems. The McCall sewage plant was brutally attacked by a number of citizens and private groups for their contributions to the reservoir. City manager of McCall, Gary Shimun, defended McCall with the promise that they were trying to fix it. After the meeting, we approached Mr. Shimun with the information we had on the Biocoil, and he took a stance similar to that of Dewey Worth's--pessimistic. He was kind enough to accept our offer of additional information when we received it. We also requested detailed requirements of the proposed alternatives. Governor Cecil Andrus was also present at the meeting, and we took this opportunity to introduce the Biocoil to him as well. He was enthusiastic about our involvement in our local environmental problems and promised to meet with us upon request.
As we were gathering information on the proposed alternatives, we found it difficult to make any sort of contact with Biotechna. Phone calls were not returned, and faxes were left unanswered. For a moment, a shadow of doubt passed before us, but we were reassured when Stephen Skill re-established contact. At this point we were referred to a California based company, SOA, Inc., whose Advanced Integrated Ponding System would serve as a predecessor to the Biocoil in the treatment system. Many of our problems were quickly remedied when we contacted SOA and spoke with Sandy Walker. We then began the research on climate conditions, weather records, land descriptions, and information on the existing sewage treatment facility that she needed in order to make a proposal to McCall. We toured the land and the sewage plant to gain the first-hand information that she required. Ms. Walker showed an enthusiasm for our project that reassured us that our idea had hope of being formally proposed.
By chance, our own principal, William Leaf, is a landowner in the vicinity of the proposed land needed for the Maki. Consequently, George Wagner, of J-U-B Engineers, met with Mr. Leaf to discuss a lease for his land to be used for effluent discharge. We were invited to observe this meeting and briefly discuss our proposal with him. His comment on the project was, "It just won't work". He justified this by referring to the expenses of other projects in the past and the slim chances of a cheaper alternative. We were determined to have our idea further researched and evaluated before we would accept these hasty judgments.
After notifying Sandy Walker about the results of the meeting, she requested that we ask for J-U-B's statement of qualifications. When we called for these qualifications, they refused to share them with us and questioned our motives. The next day, J-U-B called the superintendent of our school, Mr. Leaf, and Mr. Kennedy to stop our "snooping" around. Their actions intimidated us, but with the support of the school officials, we remained unyielding in our stance.
Much to our surprise, a call came regarding a letter we had written to Governor Andrus about the problems we were encountering to get our proposal seriously considered. Chuck Moss, a member of Phil Batt's (the incoming governor) transitional team, assured us the city of McCall would be very receptive to our idea from that point on, and before the day had ended, Gary Shimun called us to request more information. At that point we were able to establish a line of communication between Gary Shimun and Biotechna and SOA, Inc. We also made an attempt to include J-U-B on this advancement, but George Wagner refused to take our calls.
Presently, public approval of the Maki alternative is very low, and a group of Lakefork citizens (where the Maki holding pond will be located) have formed an Anti-Maki group dedicated to the prevention of the Maki implementation. We have decided that now is "the time for the kill" and have released our information to the public through pamphlets and newspapers. Recently, a front pace article was featured in the local newspaper, The Long Valley Advocate, on our efforts and proposal. A letter to the editor about it will soon be published, and we are anticipating large public response. The local news station for ABC has also requested an interview scheduled for the 20th of February. A variety of meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks, one of which we have been requested to attend. At this meeting, we will be making a formal proposal for the AIBPS with a representative from SOA, Inc. and will also be answering questions on the system. With the extensive media coverage, we are sure that the public will force our plan into consideration.
Momentum is steadily picking up on the AIBPS. There is a ground swell of public support, and even our opponents, the DEQ and J-U-B, have publicly recognized the merit of our project. Gary Shimun, city manager of McCall, now a silent supporter of our proposal, was quoted in the Advocate's article saying: "I'd be remiss if we didn't take a good look at this. They've done some serious research". J-U-B's Kirby Vickers was quoted as saying: "I think the young ladies are taking on a project that I'd have no concept about at their age". The Long Valley Advocate goes on to state: "For sure, the jargon they use and the knowledge they're trying to disseminate are at the level of college graduate students."
The next step we are taking, is to convince the authorities to pay consulting fees for Biotechna and SOA, Inc. The consulting fees, which would be used to bring Sandy Walker and Stephen Skill to McCall, would demonstrate that McCall is serious about considering AIBPS as an alternative. At this point, they would be in a position to make a formal proposal to McCall. So far, a rumored $I.2 million has been spent by the city of McCall to find a solution to this problem. We believe that $5000 for an initial site visit is very reasonable, considering all of the free consulting that they have already done for the city, and could ultimately save the city of McCall $7.1 million dollars. If we find that McCall is unwilling to fund a feasibility test by Biotechna and SOA, Inc., we will take it upon ourselves to take our proposal to the legislature and the governor for additional funding. We have received and forwarded a letter to McCall from Governor Batt that urges them to give our project serious consideration. Our state Representative, Gayle Wilde, has been following our project and has indicated her support. She has also given her pledge to work for financing for Cascade Reservoir. We are committed to finding the most cost-efficient and environmentally sound alternative for the benefit of the citizens of Valley County.
We believe in the Advanced Integrated Biocoil Ponding System, and we are willing to put forth the effort to get the proposal seriously considered. We have increased our knowledge of science, economics, and politics with this project and have learned more from the obstacles that we have encountered than from any other aspect of our project. This project has given us a first-hand glance of life in the "real world". Persistence has paid off for us, and, hopefully, we will continue to be successful. We have earned a reputation and have gained the respect of many members of the community, political figures, and members of the scientific world. We have found that things don't always work out the way you anticipate, and sometimes enemies in the beginning are allies in the end.
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